Washington: President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday that the US and the UK will establish a joint committee to develop a plan for developing advanced nuclear reactors by 2030. The project is a component of the Anglo-American economic alliance.
While in Washington, Sunak stated that the new "civil nuclear partnership" aims to "support the critical clean energy industry, our net zero ambitions and to keep Russia out of the global civil nuclear power market."
In a press release about the New Atlantic Declaration, the White House provided additional information.
The partnership will actually entail the formation of the Joint Action Group on Energy Security and Affordability (JAG), which will "set near-term priorities for joint action to encourage the establishment of new infrastructure and end-to-end fuel cycle capabilities by 2030 in both continents, and substantially minimise reliance on Russian fuel, supplies, and services."
According to the White House, the Anglo-American initiative will "support and facilitate the international deployment of advanced, peaceful nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, in accordance with the strictest non-proliferation standards and consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius limit on global warming."
It has turned out to be easier said than done, but the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and France announced in April that they would create nuclear fuel supply chains that exclude Russia.
In its commercial nuclear reactors, the US was importing 23% of the enriched uranium from Russia as of last year. American efforts to develop small modular reactors (SMR) have been thwarted because Rosatom's subsidiary is the only source of the fuel they need, High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU).
About 15% of the total amount of enriched uranium used by the utility EDF is still being purchased by Paris from Russia on an annual basis in the amount of 150 tonnes. Hungary has said it would veto any such measure, despite Germany's lobbying for EU sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry. More than half of Hungary's electricity is generated by the Paks nuclear power plant, which was constructed in collaboration with the Soviet Union. Budapest and Moscow have a contract in place to build two more reactors at the facility.
By mid-2022, there were 53 nuclear reactors being built, 20 of which were being built by Rosatom, 17 of which were being built abroad. Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, was recently completed by the nation's nuclear energy corporation. Additionally, Russia is building Bangladesh's first nuclear power plant and supplying fuel to several reactors in China and India.